By Edith C. Yassin
My brother is a rather quiet person with deep insights when he speaks. During the Covid19 worldwide lockdown he opined that “God wanted humans to slow down, stop chasing the wind and listen to each other.”
Within that period, Nigerian youths had several conversations going, on social media. They quarreled, argued, trolled and threw bants at each other. Celebrities had more online talkshows, musicians had musical slams and the atmosphere was competitive but friendly.
Many key issues were discussed and nothing was exclusive, money, wealth, rape, feminism, patriarchy, police brutality, extortion, cultism and much more.
In between, the giveaways and crowd funding for various causes continued. However, the greatest takeaway was that without distraction, they listened to each other, agreed and disagreed.
In my opinion, many of those constructive discussions have today brought a convergence of so many reasons and discontent to create the organic #EndSars protests.
Those who are 70 and above will have to realise that a new order is here. They should listen more. They should realise that there are 21 year olds to whom the civil war and military coup is history.
The tree of democracy is beginning to yield fruit. Respect is earned not by old age but by words backed with action. Respect is also reciprocal. Most of the over 70s took power illegitimately via coups and counter coups, aided and abated by their civilian cohorts. The time has come for a new generation to take it legitimately, democratically.
The 50 plus demographic has not fared well, besieged by generational bias, ethnic and religious.They are filled with fear and passive aggressive angst. I urge you to leave the youth alone. Let generational hatred die with you. Do not project your mentality onto the new generation.
The good things of life do not come via suffering only. There is hardwork and there is smart work. Allow them chart their path and change their destiny. They are about to birth a nation.
They are tech savvy. They control the entertainment industry. They earn money remotely. 9 to 5 office work is not the only legitimate means of livelihood. They have become strong from several years of Government neglect.
The trust deficit from the past and the present is manifest in the fact that the youths have refused to leave the streets. That cup is full. Inane, meaningless promises will no longer cut it. Only concrete action will do. Besides, the police unit in question has been banned/renamed a number of times within the past 3 years, only to emerge more brutal.
Any good leader should ponder why intelligence under his rule did not pick up on the growing restive atmosphere on the issue of FSARS brutality. A good leader should own and operate at least one twitter handle, to stay abreast of the people’s pulse.
There was no contingency whatsoever, so far reactionary use of oppressive tactics by the state, is Government’s default setting, a relic from the days of colonisers. Divide and rule has failed. Monetary inducement has failed.
Ironic that the only answer to a peaceful citizens protest against police brutality is met by violence from the state. It is worthy to note that the IGP has promised several times within 6 days that his men will stand down only for the opposite to happen.
Nigeria belongs to all Nigerians. Power belongs to the people. The agent provocateurs who have joined the protest and desire to make it violent should have a rethink. A Nigeria that works will work for all.
This same tactic was used in 2014 at the beginning of #BringBackOurGirls advocacy. The paid agents fizzled as soon as their handlers stopped paying. #BBOG is still advocating.
Nothing can prevail against a paradigm whose time has come. Nigeria is no longer about cult figures and their followers. Hitherto, thriving youth and women groups should once again begin to emerge.
Those controlled by godfathers have become exclusive receptacles of sycophants and praise singers, an echo chamber of emptiness. I am proud to see the youths walking the talk.
Ignore all attention seekers.
Ignore the naysayers.
Keep a singularity of purpose.
Keep it peaceful.
The future is here.
The future is now.
No matter your demographic, the message is clear, get with the programme or stay out of the way.